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How to Be a Productive Writer

Updated: Jun 1, 2021

One of the most common questions I am asked is how to gain and maintain writing momentum, especially when trying to complete a thesis, dissertation or manuscript.

My answer is simple: you must write!!! Not wait for inspiration nor necessarily desire to write. The act of writing is a discipline, so you must decide to write. Then, as the Nike slogan goes, "Just Do It."

One of the basic tools you need to write productively is a weekly writing schedule. I recommend a minimum of five days for at least 15 minutes per day (I could say a lot more on this approach but don't have sufficient space).

Also, on those occasions when you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen or paper, try freewriting. When you're mentally stuck, this technique requires you to write for a short period of time (no more than 5 minutes).

When freewriting, once you designate the amount of time you need to write, set a timer. Then, you have to write as long as the time is ticking. You may start with, "I don't know what to write" or "I'm drawing a blank." That's fine! Simply keep writing that same thing repeatedly, and eventually, the act of writing will trigger your flow of thoughts.

For more tools you need to be a productive writer or to learn more about other writing strategies, purchase a 12-month membership to the CTW Center for Academic Writing Development. This Center provides 24-hour on-demand access to more than 20 topics designed to make you a proficient scholarly writer for only $295 (which is less than $15 per topic). Visit our membership page or email us at for more information.

Keep cultivating the writer within you!

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